Budget red box

Autumn statement 2023 – our response

WGGB has responded to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn statement in the House of Commons today (22 November 2023) 

Warm words from the Chancellor about the importance of our creative industries have done little to reassure writers that the sector will get the investment it needs. While it was gratifying to see the Chancellor acknowledge the £126 billion that our industry contributes to the UK economy, and commit to future reviews, we had hoped to hear more concrete proposals to support an industry still reeling from the impact of Covid and the cost of living crisis.

£2.1 million to support the production of film and high end TV is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed and will do little to prevent the alarming reduction in domestic independent film production.

An investment of £500 million in AI in the autumn statement will no doubt benefit the UK economy, but unless regulation and safeguards are introduced alongside this, authors, screenwriters and other creative workers face an existential threat to their livelihoods.

Our self-employed members may benefit from the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions and the reduction of Class 4 contributions by 1% but these are small crumbs of comfort when taken against the bigger picture – under-investment in the arts, our PSBs and the creative sector in our nations and regions. There was much talk of ‘levelling up’ and expanding investment zones and ‘mini-Canary Wharfs’ across the UK – but where was the cultural equivalent?

Punitive welfare reforms including mandatory work placements are a really worrying development for creative freelancers whose work is insecure and sporadic – we will be watching the detail of this closely, as well continuing our lobbying, campaigning and negotiating work to represent our members on all these pressing issues.

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